Reactions

THE following are some of the reactions to Anju George's golden leap:

"I am very happy with your effort. It is the result of your hard work and dedication. I am sure it would go a long way to spur those athletes who have been toiling hard to bring such laurels to our country." — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, President of India.

"The entire country is proud of you." — Vikram Verma, Union Minister for Sports.

"This is not just a bronze for us, we value it more than gold. We are waiting for her return, it's going to be a great celebration." — Gracy Thomas, Anju's mother.

"I was extremely happy to read about Anju's achievement. This first ever feat by an Indian in a World championship has done India and Tamil Nadu proud. This achievement has taken Indian athletics to a new high, and that too, by a woman athlete's outstanding effort." — J. Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, while announcing a cash award of Rs. 25 lakhs.

"I am hopeful that she would bring far more laurels to the country. I also hope that her effort would inspire younger athletes to do their best for India at the international-level." — A.K. Antony, Kerala Chief Minister.

"Anju's bronze has placed India firmly on the world athletics map." — Lalith K. Bhanot, AAFI secretary.

"When I heard it, I couldn't control my excitement. I could hardly sleep through the rest of the night. I was so happy and all those golden moments in the history of Indian athletics unfolded in my mind. But none could match the feat of this young woman." — Milkha Singh, the Flying Sikh.

"It is a great achievement. It is just further proof that Indian athletes have the talent in them to excel at the international arena, given the right exposure and sound training." — P.T. Usha, former Asian track queen.

"I was simply overwhelmed. I think she should continue to train in the United States at least till the Athens Olympics. Anju could then help Indian athletics end its medal drought in the Olympics." — T.C. Yohannan, 1974 Asian Games gold-medallist and long jump National record-holder.

"It is natural in our country to compliment the wife for her husband's accomplishment. In this case, it is just the opposite. I think the credit for Anju's excellent showing in Paris should go to her husband, Bobby George." — Shiny Wilson, the first Indian woman athlete to qualify for an Olympic semifinal.

"I feel really proud of her. She has just confirmed that Indians too are capable of winning at the highest-level." — M. D. Valsamma, 1982 Asian Games 400m hurdles gold-medallist.

"I was always sure about the special talent in her. Now I hope that she would bring back India's first athletics medal from Athens next year." — K.P. Thomas, Anju's first coach.

"It is yet to sink in. I think I am lucky having had the honour to initiate her into long jump." — T.P. Ouseph, Anju's former coach.

"I was just praying for her. It is indeed a shot in the arm for Indian athletics." — K.M. Beenamol, Asian Games 800m gold-medallist and 2002 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna winner.

"We were training partners for years together and I am happy for her. I hope that she would be able to clear the 7m mark soon." — Bobby Aloysius, Asian Games high jump silver-medallist.